With the first day of spring just barely passing by, it’s time for some spring cleaning and decluttering. Below, we will give you some tips for how to do some spring cleaning, finance version.
By opting in for a paperless option for your bills, you’ll be decluttered and saving the environment! Electric bills are easier to manage and find in your inbox than the scattered papers you sometimes keep from your bank. By limiting the number of bills you get sent to your house, you also decrease the risk of identity theft.
Throw away the old paperwork
The IRS recommends keeping tax returns and other documents relating to your taxes for 7 years. But statements are different. After everything has shown up on your bank account, it is no longer necessary to keep receipts or bank deposits so you can shred them. If you’ve already paid for bills, you don’t need to keep the old statements for utilities or credit cards. It’s always recommended to shred documents that contain sensitive information like banking numbers, account information, and any other personal information that can be tracked to you. Here’s a great source to check how long to keep documents for.
Check your credit score
You can get a free credit report every 12 months from Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. This government website offers free annual credit reports, as well. Sometimes, your credit card company will offer a credit report too. Check your credit score to see what you’re doing that could be helping or damaging your credit score. For example, if late payments are hurting your score, then work on setting up a schedule so you’re not late again. To improve your score, definitely pay on time and avoid having a large carryover from the month before on your credit card. Ideally, the amount you owe versus your total available credit should be below 30% and using no more than 10%
Reassess your spending and your budget
Take a moment to reflect on what you’ve been spending your money on. Especially if you’re trying to cut back on spending, take a moment to assess what is a need versus what is a want. Just paying in cash makes you more mindful of your spending, and easier to stick to a budget. We’re also four months into 2019, how is sticking to your budget? Sometimes it takes trial and error to perfect it. After looking at your spending habits, reevaluate your budget and modify it so it’s realistic for you.
Make a plan for debt
As scary as debt is, ignoring it in hopes that you won’t have to deal with it isn’t going to help. After reassessing your spending, create a plan to pay off credit cards and loans. Mobile apps like Mint, PocketGuard, and Level make easy to reach those goals, if you’re a little overwhelmed.
Simplify your accounts
Reassess how many accounts you have open and with who. Also, take a look at how many credit cards you have, and how often you use them. It only takes a couple of minutes to call your bank, verify who you are, and close the account.
Happy spring cleaning!
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